The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: A couple years ago I was told there is a specific form to request to have OPM give you a retirement estimate. I was told that is the best way to do it and that a lot of HR departments do no like to do it because it is time consuming. I cannot remember what the form was. I want to request a retirement estimate to see where I stand. I did get one from my agency but it was not as involved as the one I was told to get from OPM. Any idea how to do that or what the form is?

Reg’s Response: To get an estimate of what your retirement benefit would be, use the FEDERAL BALLPARK E$TIMATE found at

NOTE: The Federal Ballpark E$timate was developed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and its American Savings Education Council program. It’s based upon the interactive version of the their Ballpark E$timate worksheet.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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